By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– The first round of the 4A Playoffs haven’t been too kind for Stayton in the past few years.
2016, 2018, 2021,all years where the Eagles fell in the first round of the 4A State Playoffs only to see Stayton respond strongly the following year. 2016 and 2018 saw the Eagles make a run into the State Championship Games in 2017 and 2019 following their first-round exits the year prior. And how Stayton answered Tuesday in their first-round game against Seaside, a team that knocked them out of the playoffs in the first-round in 2018, one couldn’t help to think that this year could be one of those deep run years for the juggernaut that is the Eagles Boys Soccer program.
The mindset, the feel was different on this day. Their pressure was there offensively, so was the feel that they had each other’s backs in their 8-0 win over the Seagulls. Stayton scored their first goal at the 1:15 mark of the game and would go on to score all eight of their goals within 36 minutes of the one-half of the game.
“It was a lot of us just going balls to the wall pretty much,” Jesse Wright said. “We were just running and keeping going, lifting each other up. Our mindset was we’re teammates and we’re family. That’s what we are. We were saying it in there (in the team room), we’re saying it out here. Saying it I don’t know how many times, but it’s a great mindset to have. Same mindset and we might finish it, I think we can get it this year. With the team we have, like I said we’re family. We have a strong bond. To us, this is our family, our home and I think we’re ready to finish it.”
Wright was one of five Stayton players to score, scoring on a PK in the 36th minute. Owen Samuell also scored along with Riley Burns, Ismael Esparza and Angel Garcia each scoring two goals each for the Eagles, who have advanced to the 4A Quarterfinals where they’ll face a familiar team in North Marion. The Huskies of Aurora defeated Marist 3-0 Tuesday as the two teams met for the third time this season, Stayton taking the first two meetings 1-0 and 3-0 respectively in Oregon West Conference play.
“Just making sure everything is good and playing together as a team. We played well tonight and if we do the same thing and play team ball, then we’ll be fine,” Burns said. “Last year was such a hard game that we played in the first-round and we played well and our focus today and playoffs is to play as a team. We did a really good job doing that tonight.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald